Optometric scope of practice
Optometrists perform 10 million eye checks annually and are appropriately the first port of call for 80% of people. Yet the skills of Australian optometrists are seriously under-utilised compared to our counterparts in similar developed nations.
This is why Optometry Australia has released Working Together for Better Eye Care, a policy platform developed to ignite an important conversation about the timely diagnosis and treatment of eye disease in Australia. It identifies readily achievable actions that can be implemented to better utilise the skills of optometrists to enhance patient access and increase the efficiency of Australia’s eye-health system including:
- Integrating successful collaborative care models between ophthalmologists and optometrists into the mainstream health system for patients with stable glaucoma, pre- and post-operative cataracts, paediatric eye care and early-stage diabetic retinopathy.
- Permitting optometrists to prescribe oral medications for eye health conditions.
- Developing and piloting models of care that utilise optometrists to enhance access for patients requiring intravitreal injections for AMD and DMO, starting in outer metropolitan areas and regional, rural and remote communities.
- Developing a national strategy to ensure that people with diabetes receive eye examinations from their optometrists to enable the early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy.
- Implementing consistent ophthalmology referral guidelines, templates and pathways for common eye health conditions, with a facilitated transition to electronic referrals.
- Introducing telehealth MBS items for brief optometry consults where face-to-face visits are impractical and to enable ophthalmology reports and advice to be relayed to patients.
Our Working Together for Better Eye Care policy platform also seeks to reaffirm our commitment that Optometry Australia will always continue to strongly advocate for our profession.
Working Together for Better Eye Care will be our platform to call on Australian governments and key stakeholders to act, and we will periodically be calling on our members and the sector to assist us ensure that our voice is heard and that we keep moving forward towards our preferred future.